Yesterday was the shortest day of the year. From here on in the days are getting longer- I’m counting down for sunnier mornings. Leaving for work in the dark, and arriving home once the sun goes down means that if I’m running outside, it’s mostly in darkness. (Lunchbreak runs sadly haven’t happened for a long time!)
Wherever you’re running in the dark, it’s crucial that you can see and be seen. Here are my tips to keep you safe when out on runs this Winter.
Wearing reflective gear is crucial, however this year I’ve added more of a glow to my outfits using lighting (and not just my geeky headtorch!) I was sent some Nathan Sports visibility gear to test out and loved in particular two of their products; the Lightbender light up armband with battery powered blinking lights. This could be worn around the arm, tied to a bag or worn around the ankle.
My favourite product however was the Lightspur. This lightweight clip attaches to the back of your shoe securely and either strobes or gives out a constant light. Brilliant for running or cycling- I would wear one on both feet for maximum visibility. I love these.
Run in well lit areas, and where possible stick to areas where you won’t be alone. I love running along the Thames towpath, but won’t run there alone in the dark because it’s quite quiet. I tend to avoid parks in the dark too. If you can find a happy medium where somewhere is populated but isn’t too crowded, then you’re onto a winner. Similarly, pedestrianised areas are often a good choice so that you don’t have to worry about cars. Run against the traffic so that they can see you if you are running on the roads.
Safety in Numbers
Rope in a friend, partner or family member to run with you if possible. Not only will it add some variety to your run, it will help you feel less vulnerable. If you do have to run alone, make sure to bring a phone with you, let somewhere know where you’re going and wear some form of ID.
Turn it Off
I would advise against running with music in the dark- you need to have your wits about you and zoning out to the latest Taylor Swift song isn’t the best idea as you won’t hear cars, bikes and other runners around you. I sometimes sing outloud when I run without music much to the annoyance of others around me, I’m sure!
If you feel really unsafe, then I would recommend taking your run to a treadmill, or squeezing it in at lunchtime/in daylight hours if possible. Nothing is worth that feeling of unease out on a run.